Take a break, Peyton. You've earned it.
Last week, we witnessed on of the great games in Colts history. For years, we'll remember the night when we saw Manning at the absolute peak of his powers. His reward? A nice relaxing trip to the bench. That's right, it's December and the Titans are in town, so it must mean that it's Sorgi time. This week watch for:
1. At least 100 yards. Peyton needs 93 for 4000. Don't think he doesn't know exactly what he needs. It's a good bet he throws for a couple of scores too. If the Colts get in tight on the goal line, watch for passes. Peyton knows he can seal up a third MVP award with even a 'modest' quarter or half.
2. Don't watch for sacks in the first quarter. These two teams feature the lowest "adjusted sack rates" in the NFL. On one hand the Titans have a bruising line that keeps their QB clean. On the Colts side, they have Peyton Manning. Once he leaves the game, watch for Sorgi to go down often.
3. Watch for Vince. Before the season, we predicted another division title for the Colts to go with 11 or 12 wins. Basically, the only thing that stopped that from happening was Vince Young getting hurt. The Colts held up their end of the bargain, but we were counting on VY to suppress the Titans. Instead, Kerry Collins has pulled them to 13 wins. That's bad luck. Now, VY is about to get back on the field. A fun time will be had by all.
4. Watch the run game. With Dom out, it'll be interesting to see how much the Colts run Joseph Addai. He's been banged up all year, but at the same time, Indy needs to prove it can move the ball on the ground at least a little. The Titans are without Haynesworth up front, so running might be an option. If the Colts hold Addai out as well and go with Simpson, you might just see 18 throw on every down.
5. Watch for Sasquatch. That's our new nickname for the elusive Roy Hall. For two seasons now, he's been lurking in the shadows of the Colts camps and complex. His size is amazing. He tantalizes the bloggers who snap grainy photos of his amazing deeds. Yet strangely, this misunderstood outcast shies away from the spot light, disappearing for weeks at a time on to the inactive list, showing up randomly to make a special teams tackle. He may well see the field on offense this week, so get a look while you can.
6. Watch for Quinton Ganther. The Titans won't play Chris Johnson very much because he is too valuable. Lendale White and his 15 touchdowns are pretty valuable as well. Look for a committee of no-name backs to carry the football for Tennessee.
7. Watch for 7. If you see Manning force feed Marvin short throws early, it might mean that 88 is done as a Colt. He needs just 7 catches to hold the #2 spot all by himself. If the Colts go out of their way to get him those catches on Sunday, it could be a bitter-sweet moment.
8. Watch for 8. That's the franchise record for fewest TD passes allowed in a season (14 games). The NFL 16 game record is 9. As of 15 weeks, the Colts have allowed only 6 passing scores. If they can keep the Titans out of the endzone through the air more than once, they'll have broken two very prestigious records.
9. Watch the sidelines. We think Tony Dungy will come back for another year, but it is possible that Sunday will mark the end of an era in Indianapolis. Enjoy it. A coach like Dungy, who has combined success with grace and humility, comes around once in a football fan's lifetime.
10. Watch Marcus Howard. The Rookie out of Georgia and fellow backup Josh Thomas will see the field early and often. The Colts can't risk and injury to Robert Mathis or Dwight Freeney, who will be essential peices of any playoff run.
11. Watch for 6 straight. The inaugural season at Lucas Oil Stadium started with losses to Chicago and Jacksonville, but the Colts have since turned things around at home. A win over the Titans will give them 6 in a row and a very respectable 6-2 mark in their new confines.
12. Watch for 12. Personally, I think Manning gets a half of football before they pull him, and in that half he'll put up three scores and seal the MVP award. The rest of the game is a crap shoot, but in honor of the Maytag man, we'll call it for the Colts 24-10.